The RST Winter Lecture Series: The future of the world’s oceans


The first lectures in The Royal Society's Winter Lecture Series for 2017

Start Date

5th Jul 2017 7:30pm

End Date

5th Jul 2017 9:00pm


Stanley Burbury Theatre, Sandy Bay campus

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Enquiries: or 6165 7014

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Winter Lecture Series: Session One


Chair: Professor Ian Allison AO AAM FAA

Future Seas: Climate change and the world’s marine ecosystems

  • Associate Professor Gretta Pecl, Principal Research Fellow - Fisheries and Aquaculture, University of Tasmania 

Our oceans are important for our culture, and are major sources of food production, recreation and employment with relevance at local, regional and international scales. However, our oceans are changing rapidly and understanding the implications of climate change and how we can best adapt to these is a major global challenge facing society. One of the most pervasive effects of climate change is a universal major redistribution of life on Earth – as the climate warms, plants and animals are shifting polewards. These changes are largest in our oceans, compared with on land, and are greatest where the ocean is warming the fastest. Around the Australian coast are several ‘marine hotspots’, areas of the ocean that are in the top 10% for rates of warming and are experiencing extensive changes in the structure and function of marine ecosystems. Gretta’s talk will highlight some of the climate-driven changes occurring in our oceans, around Tasmania, other parts of Australia, and in regions like Madagascar where there are serious implications for food security. She will finish with a citizen science example of how Australians can become involved in marine research and help us better understand the implications of climate change in our local seas.

Gretta Pecl is an Associate Professor of marine ecology with broad interdisciplinary research interests and a passion for science engagement and communication with the public. Much of her current research centres around understanding climate change impacts in marine systems, and how our marine industries and communities may best adapt to these changes. She developed and leads the very successful national citizen science project Redmap Australia, the Range Extension Database and mapping project, which invites fishers and divers around our coastline to help monitor changes in our seas. Gretta is also currently working with international colleagues on a Global Network of Marine Hotspots to facilitate learning and communication among the world’s most rapidly warming ocean regions. Associate Professor Pecl is a Fulbright Fellow, an ARC Future Fellow, a University of Tasmania ‘Rising Star’ and the Editor-in-Chief of the international journal Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries.

Blue Revolution: Innovative food production for a sustainable future

  • Professor Stewart Frusher, Cross-disciplinary Theme Leader (Climate Change), University of Tasmania

With over 70% of the Earth’s surface covered by the oceans it is not surprising that attention is turning to the oceans to meet some of the challenges associated with an increasing population. The global blue (or ocean) economy is predicted to double to US$3 trillion by 2030 and is poised to undergo a profound transition. Part of this transition will be the development of offshore infrastructures that underpin multiple industries including food and energy. As we venture into this new arena, we have the opportunity to re-think how we currently ‘farm’ our oceans. The “green revolution” may provide lessons that can usefully be applied to ensure that the development of offshore marine production systems is sustainable, environmentally appropriate and socially acceptable. This presentation will also highlight where there could be opportunities for Tasmania.  

Professor Stewart Frusher undertook his tertiary education at James Cook University in North Queensland after which he joined Australian Volunteers Abroad and worked on commercial and artisanal fisheries in Papua New Guinea. He subsequently worked at the Australian Institute of Marine Science in coastal ecosystems and aquaculture before coming to Hobart in 1992. Over the last couple of decades, he has led the Fisheries Program, Coasts and Estuaries Program and the Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation theme at the University of Tasmania. He is currently Director of the Centre for Marine Socioecology, which brings together researchers from the University of Tasmania, CSIRO and the Australian Antarctic Division across broad disciplines to focus on multiple use management of the marine domain.

More information:

Held in partnership with The Royal Society of Tasmania.logo

Session Two - 19 July 

Session Three - 2 August

Can't attend an event? Catch up with public lectures on the University of Tasmania Livestream Page!